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Always a positive vibe in Ireland

I go to Ireland once a year, either with work on a layover, or on my own. I’m Irish by descent and do it for luck. It brings me luck at home, on the road, and anytime I’ve gone there, people are always happy to see me. Once I went and got work in modeling when I got home. Once I went and sold a piece of property in 2 weeks when I got home. Once I went and had one of the funnest photo shoots ever in Phoenix Park. Once after my divorce I went to forget about any drama, and when I got there, I forgot what drama was. You get the gist.

This year I was able to get one of the layovers at the tail end of January. At my seniority, it’s hard to touch in other bases, but not impossible. We changed hotels to a four star in Ballsbridge, a town I’m still unfamiliar with, but it was fab. When we landed, it was sunny and no rain expected until we were leaving the next day. Perfect. It kinda doesn’t matter though, because even when there’s rain, you still have fun:-).

I had plans to get in, sleep, hit the gym at some point, shop for a childhood friend in TX who just had her baby (a baby named Declan & she is more Irish than me with 3 Irish names). I also had hoped to meet up with the Ankers, a family of athletes. Brian has been known to do wild things like run 100 mile races in 15 hours and thirty minutes and he set an Irish record once for doing 84 marathons in a year. His wife Jenny trains hard too, and on top of it, runs the house with 4 kids (who are not always at the same school).

The trip was a success. I got in, slept, hit the gym for an hour, went out to Grafton street and shopped. While walking downtown I got a text from another friend in the US telling me she was at the car wash. I was about to head into a pub to get on wifi so I could tell the Ankers where I was. It was wild how technology has changed. I don’t have international calling for a lot of reasons, and was hoping it all panned out to meet up with my Irish friends. It did. Though the wifi came in and out, Brian still got the message on Facebook, and he, two of his four kids, and brother all met up with me for an hour. It was great! We have a May photo shoot planned, one that will go well no matter what. We missed Jenny, because she was home tending to two of their other kids who were sick. We got a chance to discuss a bit on where we’d go, touch on how our training was going and what we’d be wearing in the photo shoot in May. I did enjoy too getting a bit of chat with his brother and kids. I just love the accent there, so fun! Jenny was glad we met up, too.

When the Ankers left, I walked over to the Hairy Lemon and met up with my crew. There were about 7 of us from the crew out, and the others opted to stay in. (It would have been guilt free to do either, because back at the hotel, you had a jacuzzi tub and killer gym. A nice combination). We had some food, and then tooled around the Temple Bar area. It was a blast. I hadn’t been out in awhile there, probably about two years and just cracked up at some of the costumes. We noticed some locals wearing 80’s trends, so I snapped some pics and posted the album on my Facebook pages as well as social media under bethadair13 on Twitter and Instagram.

I shut it down and hailed a taxi with the crew and was up for the weight room at 6 am. Pickup was 8:45, and it was a great trip home:-). I’ve often said, “if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it”, and laughing is all I do in Ireland.

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51 hours in Paris

The month of January really kicked off well. I had been staying in NYC cat sitting for nearly a week previous to the New Year and was excited about my first trip of the year, Paris, France. My year was starting off on the high octane that I was wanting.

I had a 51 hour layover in Paris and had all sorts of things on my list to do, tooling to the Eiffel Tower, checking out Pere LaChaise cemetery and even reached out on Twitter to a couple of Paris running groups for possibly meeting up.

I pulled in to Paris with a cold and rainy day, full of wind blowing sideways and cold temps. The running groups were awesome before I left the US, and wanted to meet up. The plan was to get in, sleep 5 hours, go run with the group before dark and then the next day go sight seeing. The weather threw a wrench in my plans so running was out on the arrival day. We agreed to try and meet up another time. I fully expected the next day to be raining, but looking out the hotel window next day was nothing but “alrighty then”, sunny skies and “Bon Jour Paris”….. I hit the hotel gym and with plans to be all over sight seeing like white on rice. The crew was fun, they would’ve been up for some of it too, but I was up at the crack of dawn and I was an eager to get rolling.

I got a map, directions to which trains I needed and headed out. There was a cafe I wanted to go to, as well as the ATM and Mono Prix (the French version of a US Target). Given the attacks that happened, the French aren’t messin’ around, and everyone got scanned getting into Mono Prix, myself included. They checked purses, bags and anything else looking suspicious. I’m cool with this, and hate the attacks happened. I first got my salad at the cafe, and gave the roll I didn’t touch (or take out of the bag) to the homeless guy sitting roadside on the way to Mont Parnasse metro station.

I never seem to be able to figure out the French metro machine, even in English. I needed a day pass, for 7 Euro on one train (the Green Nation), that would take me to Pere LaChaise and then I could hop off and get back on and tool down to the Eiffel tower. Out of nowhere, a girl speaking good English asked what my problem was, and I knew I’d probably be asked for money. My life is a trip, and there I was in Paris, trying to figure out a machine, and getting summoned by a local homeless girl on what and why I was fooling with the machine. She got my ticket in two seconds and the fare was 7 Euro. I gave her the 3 Euro change from the 10 I used. She was pissed and wanted more. I walked off wondering if I should have just said leave me alone. I don’t need the guilt trip for not paying more. I work my butt off, and used to work two jobs, so I kinda don’t want to hear it. I didn’t tell her, but she got the money I was going to use to buy my coffee at the shop near Pere LaChaise. Oh well, business is business.

My funniest experience with a homeless person was in New York City, back in 1992. I used to take the train to the city to use the Jack Lalane gym (an affiliate then to Bally in FL), near 5th avenue and 53rd from Union Turnpike in Queens, NY. The homeless guy there was a scream. I watched him one day while waiting for the E train. Locals would get off and say while giving money, “that’s all I got today man, have a good day”, and he was asking another woman how her son was doing while she waited on her train (obviously they’d chatted before). It was cheap therapy, “homeless style” from what I gathered. And, you got a friendly face on the other end of the coffee cup asking for money. He usually got people to laugh at something, too. The New Yorker’s loved it. I wanted to tell sweetie in Paris to go to training in NYC.

Pere LaChaise was a blast this visit. I had gone in 1992 or 1993 to see Jim Morrison’s grave. He had a following then, and it hadn’t changed. (See my social pages at Instagram or Twitter, bethadair13 for pictures or videos). When I got there this year, there was a sunny sky, cool temps and what had changed is you can take a picture of the map at the entrance of the cemetery with your phone, eliminating the need to buy a map. (Back in 1992, funds were so tight I didn’t buy the map and tooled around hoping to run into Jim, which I did). This year, the funniest thing that happened was on my way out of the walkway of Jim Morrison, towards Chopin’s grave site. There were three local French cemetery caretakers fixing a mausoleum. They were humming the tune “Light my Fire”. It was probably one of the Doors biggest hits and so appropriate to cap off my trip out of the cemetery. Just hysterical, I loved it!

In my domestic travels, I’d sometimes layover in Cleveland, Ohio. Once, I took a visit to the Hard Rock cafe in Ohio and noticed Jim Morrison’s Dad had written letters to a judge asking him to pardon him for some of the stuff he’d done. He’d been in trouble with the law. Doubt any Dad wants to see their son get hooked up with LSD or any other drug.

Next stop was to the Eiffel Tower. I got there and it was about to be dark. Two legs were shut down to visit and the lines were long, but will only be longer when the summer gets here. Security is tighter than ever. I opted out of a tool up the tower (I’ll do it later) and walked across the street to get coffee and sit on the wall to watch the boats. Dinner that night was a trip back across town and at the hotel. I ran into the crew on their way out to dinner. I was shutting it down, and headed to bed.

The next morning, I hit the hotel gym and worked back to the States. Another successful layover.

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Hal Higdon

An icon who met another named Amby

by Beth Adair

Back in the winter of 2013, I had the opportunity to meetup for happy hour w/two insanely fast runners, Hal Higdon & Amby Burfoot. I had read one of Hal’s books, and had used his intermediate training plan back in ’99 for my second NYC Marathon and had seen many stories over the years in Runner’s World magazine by Amby. I knew they were both elite runners, and Amby was the ’68 winner of the Boston Marathon.

I first met Hal in 2011. I had flown up to NYC to see friends and check out the NYC marathon expo. I figured if I wasn’t running, at least I’d be around positive energy. I wanted to buy some books for my Godson and some kids I knew, and Hal was there. There were a few other elite runners like Dean Karnazes, Bart Yasso and Runner’s World editor-in-chief, David Willey, as well. (This was a treat, as I had read David’s column for years and loved the one David wrote on running up and down hills with a baby stroller in PA). I also went by the Nissan Booth, where Ryan Hall was working. He signed a magazine I gave to a kid in Florida, and it made their day.

My first meeting with Amby was at the 2012 expo to the Runner’s World festival (rwhalf.com) weekend in Bethlehem, PA. He was there to answer questions and promote one of his books. It was great to meet such talent. I used to always think, “I can’t even qualify for Boston, how does anyone win Boston?” One of my best friends went with me to do the 10K that year. We headed over to meet Amby after the race.

These two are veteran runners. They’ve got thousands of miles under their belts and over 50 years of friendship. Their friendship started as race rivals.

We all met up at the Lodge & Club (lodgemember.com). Amby and his wife Cristina were in town for a couple of weeks in January that year. Amby mentioned too he was getting some of his training done in Jacksonville Beach for the 2013 Boston Marathon. Hal’s wife Rose was unable to attend, unfortunately. I do hope to cross paths with Rose later on at the gym. A couple of other Jacksonville athletes were invited, but unable to attend.

Nothing about either of these two indicated “slowing moving”. If ever there was a cocky “20 something” wanting to throw around their fast race time, I’m pretty sure they’d get close to “losing face” after 20 minutes of talking to these two. Another thing I have to mention is there wasn’t a massive “ego” sitting at the table, either. Hal is over 80, but gets around the gym like someone in their 40’s. He’s very sharp, concise in his writing and has little patience for “lazy”. Amby is the same way. Amby still works at a standing desk and also works in a “mini workout” during the day with small breaks with exercises between writing and editing. Also, they both hold themselves to a high level of integrity.

Hal got started with published articles when he was asked to write an article for Distance Running News, what is now Runner’s World magazine. Bob Anderson had founded Distance Running News, and Hal wrote an article on Ted Corbitt who ran from London to Brighton, England. I knew where both places were given I’m a flight attendant and had layovers at both places. The article was initially commissioned for Sports Illustrated, but not used by them and was featured in the second issue of Distance Running News. It would make Hal the oldest regular contributor. You’ll see Hal’s name in the editorial section of Runner’s World magazine now. Hal sold to many magazines, and became a contract writer for Runner’s World in 1976, with previous articles written for free. Hal was always a full-time journalist. He split to go to The Runner around 1978. Rodale would later acquire Runner’s World and The Runner in the mid-1980’s. (I’ve learned mergers and acquisitions happen a bunch in the airline business, it’s also in journalism).

Hal first met Amby in 1965. THIS IS A GREAT STORY. I can’t make it any funnier than it is without using direct quotes from Hal Higdon himself, so enjoy. “I decided to vacation with my family on Cape Cod and run a lot of road races, since New England was the cornucopia for running back then. Road races barely existed elsewhere in the US. One of the races was in Warren, RI where I got 1st and Amby got 2nd. I was at the top of my game. Amby was a few years away from the top of his. Merchandise instead of money was offered as prizes. Because our family was crammed in a small car, I had to accept a Timex watch. Amby had brought a station wagon and was able to claim for 2nd a massive rotisserie grill that I coveted, but had no room for”. Hysterically, to this day, they still joke about the grill, and I was definitely laughing when I heard the story. Hal mentioned too, that he joked about that in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated. Amby and Hal also participated in another race together where Hal took first place, at the World’s Fair in New York City.

The two of them were also used as “guinea pigs”, so-to-speak, on a product test. They both participated in a study where the two (along with others) were to run 20 miles a day for three days. Each were put on a treadmill at different times with three different testing’s. (Groups were given water, Gatorade or nothing). The result of the test would be that the groups given water or Gatorade would have improved performance, compared to no water at all. In my own experience, w/all 3 NYC marathons I did, drinking water for the first 13 miles, then alternating water and Gatorade for each mile after mile 13 proved my best performance. No injuries, no cramping and a fun post-race experience. I’ve always been under the notion too, that you are to take a look at the marathon you are doing and see when that specific marathon offers water and/or sports beverages. Adhere to doing that water and sports drink “alternating setup” in your training that’s offered in the race itself. You can also “adlib” by bringing gels with you.

As a kid, Hal didn’t think of running as being fun. It was something he did to impress girls, because quite simply, he was good at it. He went out for sophomore track to gain a letter and later took things a tad more serious when he got to Carleton College. His endeavors took him many places. Later on, Buddy Edelen would be his toughest competitor and both Hal and Buddy were coached by the same man, Fred Witt. These men weren’t “twiddling their thumbs” with a pace of 50:00 for a ten mile race. A five minute pace for that long? Me? No way. Now races offer money and appearance fees vs. grills and timex watches. I remember even reading too, some years back, a story in Runner’s World written by Grete Waitz and her experience being the female winner of the NYC marathon. There was no huge prize then. (I still regret to this day not saying hi to her at the NYC marathon expo in 1997. She was there signing autographs and I was too intimidated being it was my first marathon to say hi.)

Elite runners are very intriguing and there’s a talent I can’t fathom, because it wasn’t my gift. I love to run, and top 10% in the GRR (gate-riverrun.com) was the best I ever did in my “salad days”. Number one will never happen. For Hal and Amby, it seemed to come naturally.

I asked Hal how he met his wife Rose. It was at a bowling alley where he had just gotten out of the US Army and was looking for a lifetime mate. Hal bowled on Sundays with the club he joined and Rose was bowling in the next alley over. He mustered the nerve to get a conversation going and “she only said yes on the 3rd marriage proposal”, and they have lived “happily ever after” since. They have children and Hal also authored a children’s book “The Horse That Played Center Field”. It was later made into an animated feature on ABC-TV. Even now, in their daily activities, they both still strive to be active. At the Lodge gym, (frequented by many a retired pro-athlete), Rose participates in Aqua classes and Hal does work in the gym and uses the bike with him around the neighborhood in Florida. (The Higdon’s also have a residence up North).

Amby met his wife Cristina on staff at Runner’s World. He said she continues to make him laugh everyday. I remember reading too that she bakes amazing cakes, just perfect for dessert after a 10 mile run. Cristina is an attractive brunette, thin, tall and also spoke of a love of running. She mentioned too that she qualified for Boston using a run/walk method. She was a the Boston marathon in 2013 to cheer on Amby and let him know during the race when the bombs hit. Amby was quick to write an article on the experience at the race, and afterwards. It was a heinous halt to a perfect day to run. We will never forget. Cristina & Amby ran Boston again.

Hal continues to be a motivator in his fitness training and running and is always interested in motivating the next generation. The best example of mentoring I witnessed from Hal was over a year ago. I was walking up to the gym sidewalk and Hal was on his way out. He was whizzing towards his car when another young man, in his 20’s, was walking in. He said “Jonathon, how’s your training going?”. It was a quick conversation I didn’t interrupt with a “hi” and it just made Jonathon’s day. I later saw Jonathon in the gym “putting in his time” in the weight room. It was encouraging, and both Amby and Hal practice what they preach.

I’ve often said, “telling a runner not to run is the same thing as telling a squirrel not to have nuts”. Both men said they were very lucky not to be injury prone or ailments preventing them from fitness. Amby mentioned he has completed the Manchester Road Race for 53 consecutive years. He had three big challenges over the course of 53 years. Not wanting to break the continuous streak, one year he had walking pnuemonia (and wheezed whilst running), another with severe tendinitis (where he ran gingerly) and in 2013, he was challenged with clostridium difficule (which induced severe depression). In 2013, he was 15 pounds under normal weight, and unable to enjoy any part of the event, but was able to mentally force himself through it. Good news, in 2014 he fully recovered, had a wonderful time and completed the 2015 race 8th in his division.

Hal continues to write and inspire and books can be found on www.halhigdon.com. Amby still writes for Runner’s World magazine, (online and in the printed publication) and is currently writing a book on training. His contact is www.ambyburfoot.com.

You can’t go wrong dropping either a note or question on your training. Their books are full of knowledge and you’ll get nothing but a positive vibe.

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2015: My “Year-end Review”.

December 27. 2015

Reminiscing over the last year, I’m realizing 2015 has totally rocked:-). I got a few things off the “Beth to-do list”, and have had enormous amounts of fun in the process.

I got rolling with my website, was awarded a base transfer to New York city with my employer, started dating a touch more, and have had nothing but a year of laughs. It’s been just fabulous! I’ve often said, “if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it” and it’s something I pretty much live by. I’ve been known to work harder trips as a flight attendant if there’s another flight attendant on the rotation who’s hysterical. Passengers like it better, I enjoy my job and it makes stuff like weather delays, mechanicals and diversions a bit more “do-able”.

I was asked more than once over the last year why I got a website. It’s really quite simple. To differentiate myself from the dozens of other “Beth Adair’s” in the United States. Legally, my name is Elizabeth (after my deceased great grandmother), but I’ve been called Beth my whole life. In the US, there’s a Beth Adair that got arrested, one that wrote bad checks and one that didn’t pay her taxes. It wasn’t me. I’d be fired for blowing any drug test, drinking on the job, and called in the office likely if I wrote a bad check. If you don’t pay your taxes, you’re answering to lots more people than just your employer. We all make mistakes, so I hope the other “Beth Adair’s” got their act together. I noticed some CPA’s, business owner’s, doctors, & mom’s on my “self google”. The website was also a means of marketing myself to people and to promote myself for hopeful work in modeling, my fun “hobby”. I hired Pixacore.com to build my website, (formerly known as Instrux) and reserved the domain “bethadair.com” on GoDaddy.com. It was worth it and I’ve always been a tad “computer challenged”, so it saved me lots of headaches.

My work transfer has been nothing but a blast and has ever since July 1st(when I was awarded the transfer). I was based in NYC 1992-1994 and since being back, have seen people I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I’ve taken work trips to “never before Beth-seen” places like Greece (which was beautiful and I’m going to have to go back), Czechoslovakia (where I’ve never laughed harder at the mall & in the local gym there was a couple just tearing it up in the weight room), & Amsterdam (where I have taken a lot of ferry rides and tooled the city amongst bike riders). I still have more to see and no plans to retire my flight attendant job for at least another 15 years. (I like it that much).

Modeling wise, it’s been a blast:-) I’ve had a ball and the hardest goal ever, got accomplished this year. I was published in a reputable fitness magazine. I was located in a two page spread of Oxygen Magazine Australia, August 2015. The magazine is an international one to the US and a sister company to Oxygen Magazine. HUGE accomplishment! I’m EXTEMELY grateful to the editors for thinking enough of me for this, and that this happened. Along the course of the last 10 years, I was photo rejected numerous times by a ton of magazines. If I didn’t have the look, the skill, the athletic ablity, or the pose, so be it, but I’m still grateful for my friendships there, too.

Goals for the new year will be to mingle more in the community at home, see more of the world at work, travel on vacation to a castle in Ireland, volunteer once a month starting in April to NYRP.org (the charity Bette Midler founded) and see family and friends more. I look forward to an exciting 2016, and I hope it’s the best year yet:-). I hope everyone I meet has an unbeatable year, filled with laughs.:-)

Work hard, laugh harder, I know I will be:-)

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